Facility Planning

Located west of Des Moines, Iowa, Waukee is a rapidly growing suburban community of approximately 11,000 residents. The city’s population is expected to swell to nearly 13,000 by 2010. This population explosion, as well as an increased interest from residents to participate in outdoor activities, has established an urgent need for the city to plan for future available recreation opportunities to maintain a premier level of service within the community.

Several years ago, the city was able to secure an option to purchase 200 acres of land located west of the existing city corporate limits–but within the future annexation plan boundaries–for a regional outdoor recreation park.

The city is currently acquiring this land in 40-acre parcels for the future Copeland Recreation Complex, and will own the entire 200 acres by spring 2009.In June 2007, the city retained the services of RDG Planning & Design, a national multi-disciplinary design firm specializing in park, recreation, sports and athletic facilities design, to facilitate a public, stakeholder and user-group input process to identify the current and future recreation needs of the community, to determine the potential market for a regional outdoor recreation complex, and to develop a comprehensive program and master plan for the complex.

Guiding The Process

RDG began working closely with the directors of parks and recreation, public works and other city representatives to recommend individuals to serve on a steering committee. Several critical elements were considered to ensure individuals from recreation and sport clubs, associations, leagues and organizations within the community as well as a diverse group of park-, trail- and open-space users were represented. The primary role and responsibility of the committee was to provide an organized structure for decision-making.

In the end, the steering committee included representatives from the Walnut Creek Little League, Waukee Competitive Youth Baseball Organization, Vision Soccer Academy of Waukee, Waukee Youth Football Organization, Waukee Athletic Club Softball, Get Waukee Youth Recreation Development, a community-based effort to encourage planning and implementation of future recreation facilities, Waukee Parks and Recreation Board, Waukee City Council and city staff.Following the appointment of the committee, the design team launched a project Web site to provide the public access to meeting agendas and summaries, schedules, the facility program, concept alternatives, preliminary master plans and other related information. This tool became a valuable communication conduit, as committee members, residents and other interested individuals were unable to attend some of the workshops or public presentations.

Creating The Vision

During the initial project workshops, the following goals and expectations were established for the Copeland Recreation Complex:

· Create a community sense of place and identity

· Fulfill the community’s recreation needs and promote regional user appeal

· Provide a diverse range of multi-generational recreation opportunities

· Integrate appropriate natural-resource stewardship, best-management practices and long-term, sustainable design solutions

· Develop a facility that is a destination for regional users

· Develop a facility to serve as a catalyst for adjacent development

· Offer year-round recreation opportunities

· Design safe and accessible facilities

· Design multi-purpose facilities

· Design superior-quality recreation amenities.

Listening To The Community

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